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The Secret Of Moonacre review

Uneven family film feels incomplete

The stars would seem to be aligned: the director of the excellent Bridge To Terabithia, the splendid young Lyra from The Golden Compass (Dakota Blue Richards), and a potentially enchanting story about an orphan escorted to the decaying estate of an intimidating, Brontë-esque uncle (Ioan Gruffudd).

There, a magical book reveals that she is really a ‘moon princess’, destined to end the ancient feud between her family and the forest people.

The costumes are beautiful. The sets are impressive… But somehow the movie feels cheap and malnourished, as if the money ran out when they were only halfway there.

The pace is lethargic - it’s half an hour before there’s the first inkling of magic - and the performances are almost pantomime broad (Richards excepted).

Patchy CGI and mostly unfunny comic relief from a diminutive magical chef compound the problems.

Today’s pre-teen girls, all a-twitter over Twilight, will likely find Moonacre a bit dull.

Tom Charity

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Available platformsMovie